Egypt’s Coptic Pope Shenouda III returned back to Cairo from New York after an 18-day treatment trip in the United States.
Shenouda underwent periodical medical examinations at a clinic in the American city of Cleveland in the state of Ohio. Bishops Armiya and You’anes, the pope’s secretaries, accompanied him.
Shenouda returned to Egypt one day before the scheduled constitutional referendum. The church had earlier expressed its rejection of the proposed amendments and called for a new constitution.
During the pope’s absence, sectarian clashes took place between Muslims and Christians following a church burning incident sparked by a romantic relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman.
Angry Muslims burned a church located in Helwan Governorate, which led to clashes that left 13 deaths and 140 injured at least.
A church source said Shenouda had communications with priests in an effort to alleviate tension created by the clashes.